Sunday, March 21, 2010

The stupidest remark this week - Gays Make Soldiers Week.

The most ridiculous statement this week comes from A US army General called John Sheehan who claimed that
the Dutch army failed to protect the city of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war partly because of the presence of...... gay soldiers in its army.
His basic idea is that the inclusion of gays has weakened the European military.

Yes, seriously - and if you don't believe it, here's the video for you.

Gen Sheehan said that after the end of the Cold War, European militaries changed and concluded "there was no longer a need for an active combat capability."

He said this process included "open homosexuality" which resulted in "a focus on peacekeeping operations because they did not believe the Germans were going to attack again or the Soviets were coming back."

"The case in point that I'm referring to is when the Dutch were required to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs," he said, referring to the UN peacekeeping force deployed to protect Bosnian Muslim civilians.

"The battalion was understrength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched the Muslims off and executed them."

Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pressed him to clarify his comments.

"Did the Dutch leaders tell you it (the fall of Srebrenica) was because there were gay soldiers there?" asked an incredulous Levin.

"Yes," Sheehan said and added: "They included that as part of the problem."

Maybe Mr Sheehan should read his ancient history for one - who can believe in this day and age that strength and courage have anything to do with sexual orientation? There are tons of counter examples, including in the US armed forces. In fact, there are arguments for the exact opposite - that the ban on gays actually weakens the army.

What is clear is that only in America can a solider who gave his life in the line of duty be "posthumously stripped of his military honors and dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army"(he was later re-instated). No other western country has a policy banning gays from service or discharging them merely for “homosexual conduct”.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is rooted in prejudice and causes some really bad behavior, such "outing someone thanks to anonymous e-mails to his superiors. " (We Europeans know something about reporting people anonymously and, and it is an ugly side of human nature we should never want to see again Hopefully we've learned our lesson...)

But there is hope that Americans are learning it too as public opinion is clearly shifting on the issue :
NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls in 1993 found no more than 43% of Americans supported lifting restrictions on gays in the military. A USA Today/Gallup poll in June 2009, by contrast, found 69% of Americans favored eliminating the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions. (WSJ)
Although - surprise, surprise, not among Republicans :
A 2008 census by The Military Times of predominantly Republican and largely older subscribers found that 58 percent opposed to efforts to repeal the policy; in 2006, a poll by Zogby International of 545 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans found that three-quarters were comfortable around gay service members. (NYTimes)
... which may be why John McCain has been such a hypocrite about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and has made a 180° degree turn since 3 years ago!

No comments: